GOP Texas primaries not likely to surprise
Welcome to the 2014 mid terms, which begin in earnest today with the Texas primary.
Insurgent Tea Party members were hoping for a few upsets - particularly against Senator John Cornyn and long time Rep. Peter Sessions.
But Politico is reporting that local pols don't expect Cornyn or Sessions to have much trouble:
Tea party activists aren’t fans of Cornyn – they’ve hammered him for supporting the Troubled Asset Relief Program and the debt ceiling increase. And, as the former chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, he took plenty of heat for recruiting candidates conservatives perceived as too moderate. But the tea party crowd has distanced itself from Stockman. In a recent letter, one coalition of tea party leaders told Stockman: “As your campaign rolled into 2014, Texans have witnessed what might be the laziest statewide campaign to date. … We are looking for a bold, courageous leader with integrity — a leader who will make himself available to the people. Your actions have disqualified you.”
Stockman is one of more than a half-dozen Republicans looking to knock off Cornyn, the Senate minority whip, yet none have gained traction. Some tea party activists are supporting Dwayne Stovall, a bridge construction contractor. But Stovall’s raised just $62,000, about 1/200th of the $12.7 million Cornyn’s brought in.
2. Weak tea
Stockman’s not the only conservative hopeful biting the dust. Katrina Pierson, a Dallas tea party leader, has seen her Republican primary campaign against Rep. Pete Sessions falter.
Pierson’s received the support of FreedomWorks, a D.C.-based tea party group, and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. But she’s had a hard time raising cash — she’s taken in just 1/10th of what the incumbent has, raising $144,000 to Sessions’s $1.4 million. That’s made it hard for Pierson to promote herself in a Dallas media market where running TV ads is a pricey proposition.
Sessions, the House Rules Committee chairman and a former National Republican Congressional Committee head, has used his fundraising connections to stuff his bank account. He’s using his dollars to air TV ads highlighting his role in helping to lead the GOP’s 2010 House takeover.
Pierson’s run into other problems. It was recently revealed that she was arrested in 1997 for shoplifting. (Pierson has called the incident a mistake and has said a friend talked her into doing it.) And last week, Joe Arpaio, a controversial Arizona sheriff who has drawn headlines for his hard-line immigration views, rescinded his endorsement of Pierson, saying that she misled him about Sessions’s position on border security. Arpaio’s now backing Sessions.
The best that can be said about the Tea Party challenges is that they put Washington insiders on notice that there is no free ride anymore, and that they are being watched.
Otherwise, looks like a wipeout.
Pierson was obviously not prepared for the level of scrutiny that accompanies a federal campaign. In addition to the arrest (that shouldn't have been an issue) it was revealed that she was on unemployment to supplement her income as a Tea Party activist. Personally, I don't think anyone should begrudge someone on unemployment in these hard times, but it evidently contributed to the decline of her support.